November 30, 2023

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New Zealand Commits to Bridging Digital Divide for Seniors

The government has announced it will continue to provide digital training for seniors to help them become digitally enabled. Six digital training providers have been selected to deliver essential digital skills courses to up to 5,000 learners across New Zealand, according to the Minister for Seniors, Ginny Andersen.

Budget 2022 allocated $1.341 million over three years for the Office for Seniors to expand its award-winning Digital Literacy Training for Seniors programme. The programme previously won the education category in the 2021 IDC Smart City Asia Pacific Awards. This expanded three-year programme includes funding for the evaluation of the training.

Andersen noted that being online is becoming increasingly crucial for participating in modern life. However, as many as one in four older people do not access the internet regularly. Barriers to digital inclusion, such as limited access to devices or internet connections, lack of necessary skills, or mistrust of the online environment, can hinder older people from fully participating in the digital world. The programmes initiated by the Office for Seniors aim to provide support and training to help older individuals develop the skills needed to navigate the online world safely and confidently.

The newly allocated funding for digital skills training by the Office for Seniors is targeted to deliver digital skills training in a way that works for diverse groups of older people, including older Maori, Pacific, and East Asian people. The training programmes will be designed considering the unique needs and requirements of these specific groups, ensuring that they can effectively acquire digital skills in a manner that is accessible and inclusive.

Andersen noted that expanding the digital literacy training for seniors programme is a significant step towards improving digital inclusion for older adults. It aims to enable seniors to access the benefits of modern technology, such as online banking and staying connected with their grandchildren.

The government of New Zealand is actively working towards improving connectivity for underserved and marginalised groups as part of its commitment to digital inclusion. Last year, the government completed rolling out the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) project. Through the project, which is one of the country’s largest infrastructure deployment projects, over 1.8 million homes across 412 cities and towns were given access to world-class connectivity. The project covered 87% of the population, as OpenGov Asia reported. The UFB programme was initially rolled out in larger cities and high-density areas. It was later expanded to cover smaller and more rural and remote towns, some of which have populations of fewer than 300 people.

Under the government’s connectivity programmes and as of December 2022, nearly 1,211 km of State Highway have gained mobile coverage. Further, 114 tourism spots have mobile coverage, more than 600 maraes have been connected to broadband, and around 80,000 rural homes and businesses now have access to improved broadband.

Most recently, the government announced a major connectivity milestone as 400 mobile towers have been delivered by a mobile network operator. The move reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring that more rural homes, businesses, and communities have fast, reliable broadband connectivity, irrespective of their location.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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